The Brick Township council adopted the Federal Emergency Management Agency's advisory base flood elevation (ABFE) maps Tuesday night on second reading, the final passage of an ordinance that mirrors the state's adoption of the same maps.
"We have to pass this ordinance so the people who are entitled to the money are able to get it," said Councilman John Ducey, referring to grants that will be available to residents of communities that adopt the FEMA maps.
That doesn't mean officials in Brick agree with them, however.
"I think the council made it clear, and I made it clear, that the council adopting the ABFEs does nothing more than allow us to get more points on a score when we go for the Hazard Mitigation Grants," said Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.
Acropolis, as well as council members, all criticized the maps, saying they amount to a hardship on residents and are inaccurate.
"They're unfair, they're overreaching," said Acropolis. "We all know that."
Acropolis said he has attended meetings and has engaged in sometimes heated debate with federal and state officials on the matter.
The maps, which can be found online, were released in the afermath of Superstorm Sandy, though they were in the works long before the storm struck the Jersey Shore. Eventually, they would have come into effect even if Sandy had never materialized.
The state as a whole adopted the maps last month under an order from Gov. Chris Christie. The township, following that announcement, was effectively obligated to follow, not just for rebuilding purposes but so residents could take advantage of government grants which would help them comply and raise their homes.
Gov. Chris Christie said in a news conference Tuesday that the state may have grant programs ready by April.
The maps are still subject to change. The state – and the council, on first reading – adopted advisory maps. FEMA is expected to release its preliminary base flood elevation, BFE, maps this summer. Those maps will most likely take into account structures such as homes, docks and other features which will alter where the 'V' zones are located and reduce their footprint on the map.
Councilman Domenick Brando said he expects the council will eventually go back and change the ordinance when new maps are released, and will introduce future ordinances to make the rebuilding process for residents go as smoothly as possible.
"We're trying to do what we can," said Councilman Dan Toth. "We're doing the best we can to be as pro-active as possible."